Why should you ice to reduce inflammation after working out?
Icing following a tough workout helps to reduce the inflammation in the muscles and joints. Inflammation is a byproduct of lactic acid which our bodies produce when we are working out. If too much of this lactic acid sticks around in our bodies this results in inflammation in our muscles. It’s this inflammation that causes the pain and tenderness that we experience hours or even days afterwards or DOMS, delayed onset muscle soreness.
Most of us assume heat is the right way to treat, but this is a BIG misunderstanding! Actually, heat can be more harmful as it will increase the production of lactic acid and results in more inflammation! Heat will also draw more blood flow to a joint that is already inflammed and swollen. Cold therapy or ice is the best approach, as it will SLOW DOWN lactic acid production and therefore decrease the inflammation in the muscle. CBAN ( C-cold, B-burning, A-achy, N-numb) is the acronym to remember for the different stages of icing! Stop icing when numb or no longer than 15 minutes and make sure to utilize a thin layer in between the ice pack and your skin. Although this can be the right therapy for most injuries and inflammation, it is important to check with a certified health professional.
If you are in constant pain after working our or struggling with inflammation, it may be time to schedule your next appointment!